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Service dogs: emergency forces on four paws

Service dogs

Dogs can do much more than just give a faithful companion in the form of a family dog. Whether as an assistance dog, as a rescue dog or even as a service dog, which supports state organizations such as the police - there are countless areas in which people can benefit from the special abilities of four-legged friends.

Service dogs, for example, have long been used in numerous countries all over the world and their work often makes an important contribution to the accomplishment of sovereign tasks.

In the following you will find out where service dogs are used, which dog breeds are suitable for training and which special requirements have to be observed with regard to the nutrition of the animals.

What are service dogs?

Service dogs are animals that are used by government agencies to carry out a wide variety of tasks, from guard duty to searching for people and tracing explosives. 

Service dogs receive a special training from the respective authority, which prepares them for their future tasks and are always led by a so-called service dog handler. 

Service dogs have a long history

The use of service dogs is not an invention of the recent past. In France, the first service dogs were used as city guards as early as the 12th century and in the 19th century the police in England used dogs to search for whisky smugglers. 

In Germany, the importance of service dogs grew from the beginning of the 20th century. In the 70's special trainings for police dogs as well as explosive and drug detection dogs were introduced.

But also today service dogs are indispensable despite all technical developments in many ranges and perform day by day an important work.

Where service dogs are used

Military service dogs

Service dogs are used worldwide in different areas and have accordingly different tasks, which they must carry out. They are particularly used by the police, the military and customs. 

Service dogs with the police

Police dogs probably belong to the best known service dogs at all. They are used in many countries by the investigating authorities and trained for different tasks according to need. 

These include, for example, the search for narcotics, money or explosives as well as the so-called mantrailing, i.e. the search for persons. In addition, police service dogs are also trained by the police, for example as guard dogs, whose task is to place fugitive suspects.

Service dogs in the military

Besides the police, service dogs have a long tradition especially in the military. Today, they are used in armies all over the world as guard dogs and to track down explosives, drugs or wanted persons.

In the Bundeswehr, service dogs are used by the pioneer troops, the military police, the paratroopers, the air force security troops and the Special Forces Command. The animals are trained at the Bundeswehr School for Service Dogs in Ulmen in the Eifel region.

Service dogs at customs

Customs uses service dogs both as guard dogs and as sniffer dogs to help in the search for people, drugs, explosives, weapons and other things. The place of action of the four-legged friends is not limited thereby only to the borders, but extends for example also on highways and private dwellings.

The training of the service dogs of the German customs takes place in the two customs dog schools in Neuendettelsau as well as in Bleckede, which are used both by the customs and by the federal police.

Not every four-legged friend can become a service dog

Service dogs have to meet special requirements and are often exposed to high stresses in their everyday life. For this reason by no means all breeds are trained for service with the state. 

The following breeds belong to the service dog breeds recognized:

In addition to these breeds, however, other dogs can also be used as service dogs, whereby the later area of application and the respective organization ultimately play a role in the choice.

For example, German customs only use Rottweilers, Shepherd Dogs, Giant Schnauzers, Bouvier des Flandres and Airedale Terriers as protection dogs, while there are no regulations regarding the breed of drug detection dogs.

Training of service dogs

The training of service dogs

The future employer is responsible for the training of the service dogs, whereby contents and duration are significantly influenced by the later field of application of the animals. Because the tasks of a guard dog look naturally completely different than the work of a Mantrailer or a drug sniffer dog.

In the police, for example, prospective service dogs must complete a 70-day basic training course in which they learn the basic skills for their later everyday work. At the end of the training the four-legged friend must prove his ability together with the dog handler. 

Only then he may be used officially as a service dog, whereby the examination must be repeated each year, in order to guarantee the service ability of the four-legged friend also in the future.

What is important in the nutrition of service dogs

It probably goes without saying that the use as a service dog for the animals is associated with high physical and mental stress. For the health of the four-legged helpers it is therefore indispensable to pay attention to a high-quality and needs-based nutrition. 

In particular, the energy requirement, which is often increased by increased physical activities during training and missions, must be covered. In addition, it is important to provide service dogs with additional nutrients when needed, which cannot be supplied sufficiently through the food due to their busy daily lives.

The Bellfor Nutrition Concept for Service and Utility Dogs

With the special Bellfor nutrition concept for service and utility dogs, dog owners make a good choice in any case. After more than 30 years, we know exactly what is important when it comes to species-appropriate feeding. 

Our products contain only natural ingredients and are characterized by a high quality of raw materials and a good digestibility. So you can be sure that your dog is well cared for and gets exactly the nutrients he needs.

We recommend the following Bellfor products for four-legged friends, such as service dogs, who are exposed to particular stress:

  • Bellfor Premium PUR Aktiv is our gluten-free dry food with a high fish and meat content as well as additional energy in the form of well-tolerated carbohydrates from rice and corn.
  • Bellfor Fitness Powder with insect protein provides active dogs with all essential amino acids and provides an optimal protein supply for rapid regeneration and high performance.
  • Bellfor Immune contains selected ingredients that support the immune system, so that service dogs can survive their challenging and stressful everyday life well.

Our tip for service dogs under constant stress

Service dogs have to endure a lot and are often under stress for hours during their work. In order to counteract this and to help the four-legged friends to come to rest, a dietary supplement with Bellfor Shiimun Calm can be useful.

This natural shiitake-based preparation is ideal for reducing stress and nervousness and for helping service dogs to cope with their stressful daily routine without any problems.

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